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Vanatori de Munte

Romanian Mountain Divisions

When we worked on Eastern Front we wanted to only include full Intelligence Briefings and we just didn't have enough space to fill out the old Romanian Vanatori de Munte from the old Ostfront. To do it justice we decided to save it as a Website Intelligence Briefing.

We have now also made an Intellignce Briefing for hte Romanian Mountain Troops in Late-war.

The Mountain Troops

The Romanian Vanatori de Munte (mountain hunters) units were created in 1916 and represent the elite troops of the Romanian infantry. At the outbreak of the war with the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, the Mountain Corps consisted of four brigades (1st to 4th) made up of twelve groups (1st to 12th) each with two battalions. There were 24 battalions (1st to 24th) out of which the first sixteen were very well trained and armed active units. The rest (17th to 24th) were formed after the general mobilization and were of lower quality.

A mountain brigade consisted of six Vanatori de Munte battalions, one mountain artillery group (1 or 2 battalions of 75mm or 76.2mm mountain guns and one battalion of 100 mm mountain howitzers) and one mountain pioneer battalion.

The mountain troops had a higher level of training and professionalism than the regular infantry. The initiative at battalion level was more developed. They were well suited to fighting in difficult terrain, but they lacked sufficient artillery, which made them vulnerable in the open terrain of the Russian steppe.

In 1941 the Mountain Corps was made up of the 1st, 2nd and 4th Mountain Brigades. The 3rd Mountain Brigade was stationed on the frontier with Hungary.

Vanatori de Munte fighting in the mountains
Vanatori de Munte getting German medals

At the end of the 1941 campaign, the 2nd Mountain Brigade was brought back to Romania and the 1st and 4th Mountain Brigades remained in Crimea.

During the winter, the 2nd and 3rd Mountain Brigade were completely rearmed. The old first world war artillery pieces were replaced with modern guns. The 1st and 4th Mountain Brigades, which were at the front, received field guns instead of mountain guns. Because they were involved in the first siege of Sevastopol, they were reinforced with two 100mm howitzer battalions.

On 15 March 1942, the mountain and cavalry brigades became divisions, though actual size of the units didn’t change, the establishment of the mountain brigades already put them on par with Italian and Hungarian divisions. In July 1942, the 2nd and 3rd Mountain Divisions were sent to the front to take part in the campaigns in the Caucasus and the Kuban regions.

Vanatori de Munte machine-gunner
Vanatori de Munte heavy machine-gunners During the winter of 1942/1943, the 1st Mountain Division was also modernized. The 4th Mountain Division never got to replace its old guns before it was disbanded in November 1944. After the battle of Stalingrad, the 18th Infantry Division was transformed into the 18th Mountain Division.

Its regiments were renamed mountain groups (18th, 90th and 92nd) and the battalions received new numbers (27th to 35th). The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Mountain Divisions retreated into Crimea and the 4th Mountain Division was joined with the 24th Infantry Division to form the 4/24th Infantry Division.

In May 1944, only 60% of the mountain troops in Crimea were evacuated before the Soviets had completely retaken the peninsular.

Romanians take a break on the Don River
Banatori de Munte Late-war


Vanatori de Munte Intelligence Briefing Mid-War (PDF)...


Vanatori de Munte Intelligence Briefing Late- War (PDF)...

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Last Updated On Thursday, April 5, 2012 by Wayne at Battlefront